Apple Employee Fired For Thinking Different

Top Headlines


How Obamacare Can Be Improved

With Aetna just the latest health insurance provider to opt out of covering Obamacare markets, many are wondering what changes can make the Affordable Care Act more appealing to customers and insurance companies. Here are some proposed improvements

How Internet Clickbait Works

Facebook and other sites have recently begun to fight back against “clickbait,” often misleading internet posts designed to be seen by as many readers as possible. The Onion breaks down the production and spread of this content

Home Depot Employee Can Tell This Customer’s First Attempt At Pipe Bomb

APPLETON, WI—Shaking his head Monday as the customer selected a length of plastic pipe over a stronger metal alternative and placed it into his shopping cart, local Home Depot sales associate Graham Warner, 57, was reportedly able to tell right away that this was the store patron’s first attempt at making a pipe bomb.

Disappointing Buffalo Wild Wings Not Living Up To Ridicule

LOS ANGELES—Describing the experience as a significant letdown, local diner Eric Tidwell told reporters that the disappointing Buffalo Wild Wings franchise he visited Thursday night failed to live up to the scorn he had long heard about the restaurant.

KFC Introduces New Previously Owned 20-Piece Hot Wings

LOUISVILLE, KY—In an effort to meet the changing demands of its consumers, fast-food chain Kentucky Fried Chicken announced Wednesday that it has begun offering customers the option of purchasing, at a significant discount, a 20-piece box of pre-owned hot wings.

Man Has Loyalty To Pretzel Brand

BROWNSVILLE, TX—Describing them as “the best pretzels out there” and “the only ones [he] buy[s],” local resident Ned Carlisle expressed his firm loyalty to Snyder’s of Hanover–brand pretzels Tuesday.

New Mountain Dew Vows To Kill 99.9% Of Stomach Bacteria

PURCHASE, NY—Touting the beverage’s refreshing citrus taste, tongue-tingling carbonation, and prescription-strength antimicrobial properties, PepsiCo officials announced Wednesday that their newest product, Mountain Dew Code White, kills 99.9 percent of consumers’ stomach bacteria.

Heart Attack A Real Wake-Up Call For Man’s Insurance Provider

HARTFORD, CT—Saying the incident had forced them to completely rethink their past decisions about the man’s coverage and how they would approach his policy from here on out, Aetna executives reported Thursday that the recent heart attack of longtime plan member Michael Burns was a real wake-up call for the 163-year-old insurance company.

Big-Box Stores Vs. Small Businesses

While massive superstores like Walmart and Target have dominated the retail landscape for years, many shoppers are rejecting them in favor of smaller, locally owned shops. Here is a side-by-side comparison of the two options:
End Of Section
  • More News
Up Next

Apple Employee Fired For Thinking Different

CUPERTINO, CA—Brent Barlow, 27, a software analyst and beta-tester at Apple Computer headquarters in Cupertino, was fired Monday for "thinking a little too different."

A 1998 photo of Apple software analyst Brent Barlow, who was recently fired for "thinking too far outside the box."

Apple spokespersons said the firing was necessary because Barlow "consistently failed to adhere to the normal standards of conduct and daily routines expected of employees of Apple Computer."

Among the floutings of convention cited in Barlow's Apple employee file: developing a pulley system to store his mountain bike above his workstation, listening to Bob Dylan on his headphones while testing software, and taking barefoot walks around the Apple campus to "feel more connected to the creative energy of others."

"It's okay to think outside the box," said Avie Tevanian, Apple senior vice-president of software engineering. "In fact, we very much encourage that sort of thing here at Apple. But in Mr. Barlow's case, he went just a bit too far."

Barlow was first written up in September 1996, when he was cited for "unprofessional and inappropriate personal modifications to his workspace." In addition to taped-up pictures of Mahatma Gandhi, Albert Einstein and R. Buckminster Fuller, Barlow painted a large red question mark on the side of his monitor, scanned and displayed a non-approved desktop screen image of Jim Henson, and replaced his computer's trademarked Apple system beep with a snippet of the John Lennon song "Imagine."

"I like to explore problems from unusual angles," said the ponytailed Barlow, cleaning out the desk he has occupied since joining Apple in 1995. "And being in a free-form environment of my own creation really helps me get in the right frame of mind."

Barlow's most recent formal write-up came last Thursday, when his team supervisor caught him doing a headstand.

"I was stuck on this bug I discovered in the new Mac OS X system software that Apple's developing. No matter what I tried, nothing worked," Barlow said. "So I thought to myself, what I need to do is turn my whole approach to this problem upside-down. And what better way to do that than by standing on your head?"

In an effort to prevent such incidents of "excessive iconoclasm" in the future, Apple has developed a manual outlining the company's rules and regulations regarding individualism. Permitted will be such unorthodox activities as removing shoes when seated or within four feet of a desk; whistling when given prior written permission from a direct supervisor; and kicking puddles, provided the kicking is conducted during one's lunch hour and the puddle is one of the 35 on the Apple campus specifically designated for such a purpose. Prohibited will be such "gratuitously idiosyncratic" behaviors as singing out loud, flying kites and catching butterflies.

"Of course, we want our employees to be individuals and 'do their own thing,' so to speak," Apple director of corporate communications Michael Landau said. "But Mr. Barlow's behavior consistently crossed the line. If he wants to think that different, he can do it on his own time."


Sign up For The Onion's Newsletter

Give your spam filter something to do.

X Close